Forget everything you think you know about Manly's Ivanhoe, because things have gotten a whole lot classier. In a relaxed pub way, that is. After an eight month refurb, the doors have been swung open on this heritage-listed building to reveal a beachside haven nestled in the middle of The Corso. It's a Hamptons meets Palm Beach chic situation and this joint's no longer beckoning those who've been thrown out of everywhere else in the vicinity. It's now more like a destination pub.
White wood as far as the eye can see, splashes of fresh seaside colours, lobster pots hanging from the ceiling, sandstone walls, old school tennis rackets, fairy lights, a boat dangling above the stairwell, decorative chunks of knotted rope and a whole lot of plants. So many plants the Ivanhoe crew actually had to get a full-time gardener.
The overall effect is very modern, very slick, and very fitting to its beach side location. Paul Kelly (The Bourbon, Sokyo, Black) designed the space, except for the upper level, which Sibella Court (Mr. Wong, The Beresford Hotel) styled. You can see the 10 years of planning that's gone into the fitout. And the outdoor spaces are really something special, including the little touches like tiles and clever lighting on the outdoor rooftops. In winter there will even be a massive fireplace to light one of the walls.
Downstairs, punters will get a limited menu, as well as take-away food, like fish and chips. Pair that with some beverages from the bottle shop area, and you've got a pretty neat little picnic. Try a thin crust pizza (by Mark Jankovics). The Hot, Sweet & Savoury (15cm lunch $12, 23cm $18, 33cm $23) pizza has a nice touch of hotness from the jalapeno peppers, which works well with the shaved leg ham, crème fraiche, provolone and sweet corn, topped off with sprigs of mint. And, for those who can't go to a pub without eating a burger, there's the Moroccan Lamb ($14), which should keep most meat lovers happy.
And another good thing? No annoying buzzers going off, and it's family friendly. Most items are under $28 on the menu and it's light-style pub grub. There's quite a few salads to choose from like the whole roasted beetroot and grilled haloumi salad ($15), a lightly dressed baby spinach salad with a vinaigrette dressing, red onion, walnuts, chick-peas, basil and mint.
The Grilled Snapper ($27) pretty much sums up the Ivanhoe's menu. It's cooked perfectly, has simple flavours, and has a choice of sides. The loosely crushed kipfler mash, with mustard, and cherry tomato salsa provides a great contrast in texture to the grilled fish. Head Chef Derek Morris seems to know what pub grub is meant to be. And the meals aren't tiny, so you won't be leaving the joint hungry.
Just ignore the gaming room if that ain't your thing and enjoy the contemporary, bright and airy courtyard areas. Another Manly hit to add to the list. And we'd recommend you watch this space, because The Ivanhoe is about to launch their top level, The Pines. Rumour has it there's going to be cocktail jugs and dancing like you've never seen before.